Irina Trotsuk 1, 2
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation
  • 2 Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, 6 Miklukho-Maklaya Street, Moscow, 117198, Russia

Discursive Representations of the (Capitalist) Results of the “Chinese Economic Miracle”

2020, vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 310–347 [issue contents]
It is unlikely that any other state attracts more attention of the world community than China; there are endless debates about its geopolitical status, social-economic potential, demographic challenges, environmental threats, political structure, etc. However, scientific and popular-science discourses focus rather on finding an answer to the question of what type of social system China has in terms of the classical dilemma of “capitalism vs socialism”, and there are no universal nominations for either the historical past or present. The article aims at identifying the key discursive representations of the “Chinese economic miracle” by reconstructing them from three books recently translated into Russian: Zhang Yu’s China’s Economic Reform: Experience and Implications, Yifu Lin’s Demystifying the Chinese Economy, and How China Became Capitalist, written by Ronald Coase and Ning Wang. The article summarizes the main arguments of the three books. Although their interpretations of the “Chinese economic miracle” differ, including the degree of the politicized enthusiasm and optimism, they agree that developing countries should follow the Chinese path of reforms and ignore a number of this path’s serious problems. The article concludes that the books represent three discourses: an ideological-politicized scenario of developing a special type of socialism “from above”, a description of the capitalist economy developed from both “above” and “below”, and a statement of the completed transition to capitalism not under the party leadership control but mainly “from below” and, despite prohibitions and anti-capitalist rhetoric, “from above”. Such discursive contradictions are especially interesting for the Russian reader who remembers disputes about the type of “Russian capitalism” in the 1990s–2000s, and for the sociologist of the “classical type”, i.e., one studying historical changes to understand current social transformations.
Citation: Trotsuk I. (2020) Diskursivnye reprezentatsii (kapitalisticheskikh) itogov «kitayskogo ekonomicheskogo chuda» [Discursive Representations of the (Capitalist) Results of the “Chinese Economic Miracle”]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 19, no 2, pp. 310-347 (in Russian)
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